March 11, 2021

How To Harvest Weed – A Beginners Guide

In this article we’ll be talking about how to harvest a cannabis plant, and how to dry and cure your weed before you can consume. We’ll also be talking about the optimal time period to harvest, setting up your own personal drying space as well as any tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way. Whether you’re growing indoors or your growing outdoors, you still need to harvest, dry and cure your weed!

The flowering stage is coming to an end, and you’re one step closer to gathering the “fruits” of your labor, but you still have one major step left to complete, the harvesting of your weed. Harvesting is one of the last most important stages of growing cannabis and it’s common for beginners to try to breeze through this portion of the process, since they’re so close to the finish line.

Steps Before You Begin Harvesting:

  • Check your plants for any pests or fungi.
  • Cut away large fan leaves.
  • Begin flushing your grow (if you’re using mineral nutrients especially) about two weeks before you plan to harvest. Flushing your grow is just using clean, room temperature water to flush away any excess fertilizer in the soil. During this process you want the soil coming out of the bottom of your pot to turn from the initial dark brown to a lighter color.
  • Stop fertilizing after you’ve completed your flush.
  • Stop watering about 1-3 days before your harvest!

When To Harvest Your Cannabis Plants:

Harvesting time really depends on how quickly your strain flowers and gets to this Lifestage. If you have an early finishing strain, this could mean that it’s ready for harvest a few weeks prior to a more traditional strain. But that being said the normal period for flowering is around 8-12 weeks, but anywhere around this period you should start inspecting your buds for clear trichome adulthood to get a better idea of when it’s ready to harvest. Trichomes start out clear and transparent and then when they’re closer to harvest they will become more of a milky-white or sometimes even shades of brown or amber. This means it’s time to harvest. If you’re noticing all your trichomes are brown, this might mean you’ve passed the harvesting window!

how to harvest weed

Along with this, take a look at the pistils (the little hairs) on your bud, once they turn from white to orange or brown and begin to stand upright, then harvesting time is very close.

How To Dry Marijuana:

After harvesting, you’ll need to dry the marijuana buds before it’s actually usable.

The best way to do this is to use a drying rack or hanging the branches. You want to give each bud or branch enough space to breath and dry and not have them all clumped together or you risk mold growing due to shared moisture. I’d also recommend turning on a fan and aiming it underneath or on the side of the buds to help with airflow.

drying marijuana by hanging

Keep your room dark and try to keep the humidity around 50% if possible. I generally like to dry my buds for around two weeks and I’m looking at them everyday to ensure no mold is growing. If you do spot mold, go ahead and throw that bud away so it doesn’t infect the others.

How To Cure Marijuana:

After drying marijuana, you still have to cure it! Thankfully curing marijuana is a very easy part of the harvesting process, and all you’ll have to do is keep your buds in a glass jar in a dark room and then open it once or twice a day to let the buds breath. This normally takes around 2-4 weeks. Although this is a tempting part of the process to skip, you really need to just hold out for a little bit longer to ensure that the buds have time to dry and cure before consumption.

Curing is important because it helps to ensure that your cannabis will be able to last. If you don’t cure your buds not only will it affect the overall flavor and quality, but it also leaves your buds susceptible to future mold. Curing helps to continue to dry out the buds and ensure any mold or bacteria is dead, and won’t affect it in the future. This allows you to be able to store your buds without having to worry. Not only will this protect your buds in the future but it can also take a moderate flavor and experience and turn it into an excellent one!

Final Thoughts On Harvesting Marijuana:

I know it can be difficult to be patient enough to want to harvest, dry and cure your weed after you’ve just spent months waiting for them to grow. Unfortunately this is all part of the process, and these final steps are extremely important. It might be tempting to cut corners on the drying and curing portions, but just remember that you’ve been waiting for months, so it’s not worth ruining your grow just to save an additional few weeks.

Overall harvesting your marijuana should be an exciting time, you’re near the end and you actually have something physically in your hands for all your months of labor! Just stick it out a few more weeks and you’ll be ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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Jacob is the owner and lead author here at  He's been involved in the cannabis growing industry since 2012.  Based outside of Denver, Colorado, his passion involves sharing his knowledge of growing and the cannabis industry.

Jacob Hydra

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